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In the Chinua Achebe's story of "Dead Man's Path", the opening clearly brings out a story about the clash of two sets of values. This story presents the clash between world-views and value systems. Dead Man's Path is set in Nigeria in 1949 and its main character is a man named Michael Obi who is the new, enthusiastic and wholehearted headmaster of a disadvantaged and destitute school. This is a story that explores the effects of European customs and beliefs on traditional African culture.
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It is clear that a person's character can make or break your personal character whether inherited or your own personal design can be what brings you into your "world," your friends, relationships, and work are all brought to you by the character which flows from you into the sight of others. In examining the characterization in the stories "Dead Man's Path" by Chinua Achebe, it becomes clear that in "Dead Man's Path" our main character is a young married man, fervent to begin a new job. According to Mendel, & Kirszner, (2009), it is true that "Michael Obi's hopes were rewarded much earlier than he had anticipated after being appointed headmaster of Ndume Central School in January 949. It had always been an unprogressive school, so the Mission authorities decided to send a young and energetic man to run it."
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By the use of words like "young and energetic" the writer is allowing us to view the protagonist to probably having no experience because of being young and energetic Achebe makes us think that he will not think concerning issues through which he should before making decisions (p.109, l.4). The author also makes us wonder why the school has been unprogressive in the past and the hunger for it to be progressive. "Dead men's path" is told by an omniscient third-person narrator, because he switches forth in time twice in the story ("Three days later", p.70, l. 4). The narrator isn't part of the story since through him who appears in every scene of the story.
Generally, the language that Achebe uses in "Dead men's path" is easy to understand. Although, there're numerous images in the text, it seems to have been taken out of a religious context: "let the hawk perch and let the eagle perch" (p.71, l.1), which is the golden rule of the Ibo religion and a demand for more tolerance and peaceful co-existence between different cultures or religions.. There is also an allusion to the Bible, when "Obi was admiring his work" (p.69, l.6), thus presenting Obi as a kind of god in the world he created: the school (Mendel, & Kirszner, 2009).
The frequently used stylistic devices in the story include: exaggerations and irony. Firstly, there is an exaggeration that underlines Obi's position towards the path's importance and it becomes clear that he doesn't respect the priest's meaning of the 'path' in regards to his religion. Obi considers it as nonsense and therefore he doesn't want "people to make a highway of [his] school compound" (p.70, ll. 12 f.). This expression shows the importance of the school to Obi.
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In conclusion, "Dead Men's Path" therefore depicts a very narrow insolence for differences in people within the society. The central character, Michael, the headmaster at a Missions school, mocks the religion of the village priest. Achebe depicts Michael and the priest as very dissimilar people and uses the priest as a foil to the headmaster to exhibit the magnitude of dealing with those of a different faith and culture with respect and openness. The priest is a very "old age", man, he is traditional and respectful.
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